January 05, 2006

Princess Aiko, feminism and the state of women

I came across this interesting article about Princess Aiko . Actually it's not really about her but what her coming to throne would mean for the state of women in Japan and the Japanese economy. While I'm all for the throne being headed by a woman, I can't really say much about the reactions of the majority of Japanese people (having never been to Japan).

Anyhow, this started my train of thought and I realized that as a woman in today's world, I have a lot to be thankful for. Thankful to the women who came before me and fought to be seen and heard. Thankful to the women who put us on equal footing with men. But the moment I've written these words, I'm filled with some anger. Why did women even have to fight hard to be considered equal? Why were they even considered second-class citizens in the first place? Because men deemed it so? Am I wrong?

Yes, I am a feminist. I'm not an insane person though, so I'm not going to fight with men (or anyone else) over stupid things. I simply care about equality and for me that means that I'm granted equal opportunity and the right to expect and achieve what I want, irrespective of my gender. Thankfully, I've not been made to feel (too often in my life) that I cannot or should not do something simply because I'm a girl. I haven't really listened too much to people who have tried to impose restrictions on my person because of my dominating X chromosome, however I find it troubling that not every one is awarded this luxury. The fact that I have to term this as a luxury is a cause for concern in itself. I know about the treatment of women in India even now, the stories I have heard out of Pakistan, the stories in Africa, El Salvador, The Montreal Massacre and so on. Women beaten, raped, mutilated, torched, gunned down - sometimes just for being a woman. How did all this even begin?

Anyway, I'm probably never going to get a satisfying answer because there can be no reason just enough to say "oh ok, it all makes sense now". What's the point of all this? I don't know. I care. I need to do something, and I will. I'm just voicing my feelings and trying to figure out exactly what that something is. I guess I'm going to have a troubled sleep tonight especially since I just came across an interesting coverage of the Montreal Massacre.

A Votre Sante.


Pirate said...

Vee, I love the way you think and the questions you ask.

as a young boy in a rural community I remember a girl in my elementary class claiming girls were as good as boys or even better. I didn't want to argue with her but i sat there thinking what a poorly informed girl.

as a father of two boys and two daughters I concur with her. Why would anyone think that either of the genders was superior to the other?

I think it is because when we were all more tribal in nature the man noticed he was physically stronger but emotional inferior. So the men used their physical strength to hide their inferiority with the other gender. As societies evolved and equality became a goal of advanced societies the obvious questions of eventually arised.

What is important is we must continue equality of human rights throughout the whole world or no one is truely free or equal.

Kaskuss said...

Hi Vee,
You have an interesting topic here. However I feel that we should set aside these differences for now. What really matters is the little differences you can bring to the lives you touch everyday !

Vee said...

Pirate: well said! It is so refreshing to hear a man say that! Not that I've only interacted with neanderthals, but your comment took me by surprise.

Kaskuss: While I agree that it is important to make a positive difference when you can, I don't think I could set aside the gender issue if it's pointed out. It's still prevelant out there and brushing it under the rug won't make it go away. I'm not going around arguing with every male I see (lol), it's just something that was on my mind. That's all.

Lindsay Lobe said...

I think the question of women’s rights relates to human rights. Rural women in the developing world are often the ones doing the back breaking work under conditions outside the guidelines of the United Nations on human rights.

Although many developing countries have passed laws to protect women’s rights, local culture maintains a tradition in the rural areas where millions of women live in poverty and must bear the attacks against their fundamental human rights for no other reason than they are women.

This is an affront to humanity, an inexcusable state of affairs for mankind.

Women have become the weapons of war and with almost impunity rapes occur in conflicts in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Congo, Afghanistan, Rwanda and the beating of women occurred by men in Pakistan, South Africa,Peru Russia and Uzbekistan where governments have taken little punitive action.

Forced prostitution is another issue I understand for women from the Ukraine. Moldova, Nigeria and Burma.

But there are many good men fighting against these violations and each of us can only do our small part.

For a good news story you might like to visit my Malawi site (linked to my bog) and read about the wonderful work (just look at the pictures with the captions of Snr Mary Doonan and no need to make any comments )of an Irish Medical Missionary who has a burning desire to help the down trodden women in the more rural areas and to raise their dignity and show them how to be independent,loved and respected.

She has introduced new dietary training, helped them establish profitable enterprises, conducted English and literacy training, Aids awareness training, craft making, broadcasting, Soap making, Weaving, Agriculture and established with them the importance of women in the ministry.

Her recent letter to me is at http://malawisupportgroup.blogspot.com/2005/12/news-from-sister-mary-doonan.html

I composed a short story for the schoolchildren here of a magical rainbow worm and included her as the mystical angel of mercy at the other end of the journey for the school children on the back of rainbow worm visiting their new frinds in Malawi.
If you would like to read it see http://malawisupportgroup.blogspot.com/2005/05/childrens-story-about-malawi-by.html

I hope future generations might realise the plight of others.

As your previous commentor mentioned, we can each only do our small part, which is what I emphasis to our small voluntary Malawi
support group.

Another aspect of interest I think is the likely inaccuracy of many biblical texts. It seems very likely many of the Disciples of Christ were women, possibly a majority, but they would have been excluded from the narration as culturally they would be seen as inferior. At the last supper I think there would be possibly more women than men and a virgin birth would elevate the status of Christ to God in the mind of the narrator, but not in mine, as I think all new life is miraculous.

My 3 daughters are completely independent, 2 are married with children and the chores in their respective households are all shared 50/50.

There are my best friends and I value their opinion as they do mine.

I think equal rights for women is a moral necessity.

Best wishes

Gary said...

Wow! Good information. If anyone wants to put their voice to a campaign that is fighting violence against women (and fighting for their human rights) - check out this Amnesty link (especially you gents)

10,000 voices